(BPT) - Many Americans may be risking their health by neglecting regular health appointments, including dental care. In a normal year, an estimated 100 million Americans fail to see a dental professional, according to the American Dental Association.1 Unfortunately, COVID-19 intensified this, as more than half of adults say they or another family member in their household skipped or postponed some type of medical care because of the coronavirus — with dental care at the top of the list.2
Preventative oral care not only assists in reducing the risk of more costly dental procedures, but research shows it can also help prevent the discovery of potential health issues like heart disease. In fact, the Mayo Clinic says unhealthy teeth and gums could lead to germs entering the bloodstream and traveling to the heart, leading to the ailment endocarditis.3
Yet, pandemic conditions may not be the only factor for those putting off needed dental care. Another concern lies with high medical costs, especially when more than a routine checkup is required. According to Aflac’s annual WorkForces Report, 48% of U.S. employees said they couldn’t pay $1,000 or more for out-of-pocket expenses without relying on debt or credit if an unexpected serious illness or accident occurred today.4
“Preventative dental care is important in maintaining your overall health and shouldn’t be avoided,” said Bob Ruff, a senior vice president with Aflac. “That’s why having and using dental insurance is important so people won’t feel as if they have to choose between their wallets and their wellness.”
Dental coverage, which Ruff says Aflac began selling nationally in January, is the second-most important benefit in workers’ insurance packages right after major medical health insurance.4
Ruff recommends looking for a dental plan that helps cover costs of dental care. In addition, he advises checking to see if you have supplemental insurance with a wellness or health screening benefit, which pays cash for going to a medical professional or receiving preventative care.
Taking care of your mouth isn’t only good for detection of more serious illnesses. It’s also been connected to an enhanced self-esteem, especially with adolescents.5 And after the events of the last year, people deserve to enjoy good health and a bright smile.
1 The Mouth Healthy Blog, by the American Dental Association. “Your Top 9 Questions About Going to the Dentist Answered.” Accessed Feb. 19, 2021. https://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/dental-care-concerns/questions-about-going-to-the-dentist.
2 KFF Health Tracking Poll - June 2020. Accessed Feb. 19, 2021. https://www.kff.org/report-section/kff-health-tracking-poll-june-2020-social-distancing-delayed-health-care-and-a-look-ahead-to-the-2020-election.
3 The Mayo Clinic. “Heart disease.” Accessed Feb. 22, 2021. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditionsheart-disease/symptoms-causes/syc-20353118.
4 The 2020-2021 Aflac WorkForces Report is the 10th annual Aflac employee benefits study examining benefits trends and attitudes. Conducted by Kantar on behalf of Aflac, the study captured responses from 2,000 employees and 1,200 employers across the United States in various industries. Learn more at Aflac.com/AWR.
5 U.S. National Library of Medicine by the National Institutes of Health. “Impact of Dental Disorders and its Influence on Self Esteem Levels among Adolescents.” Accessed Feb. 19, 2021. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5449896.
Aflac dental and vision insurance coverage from the 2020 pilot launch is underwritten by National Guardian Life Insurance Company (NGL). National Guardian Life Insurance Company is not a member of the Aflac family of insurers. National Guardian Life Insurance Company is not affiliated with The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America a/k/a The Guardian or Guardian Life. Aflac dental and vision products may not be available in all states. National Guardian Life Insurance Company | Madison, WI.
For all states that have approved the Aflac dental and vision insurance products, coverage will be underwritten by Aflac. In New York, coverage will be underwritten by Aflac New York.
Aflac WWHQ | 1932 Wynnton Road | Columbus, GA 31999.
Please see coverage documentation applicable to your situs state for further details.
Policy Series Dental QN81000, NDNGRP 04/06 or NDNGRP 2010, et al. In Idaho, QN81100MID. In Oklahoma, policy form QN81100MOK.
Notice to Consumer: This is a limited benefit plan and provides dental benefits only. Aflac’s contracts of insurance, including Aflac’s network dental and vision plans, provide limited-scope and/or supplemental benefits only and do not constitute comprehensive health insurance coverage. Aflac’s contracts of insurance do not satisfy the requirement of minimum essential coverage under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) and are not designed to meet any of the essential health benefit requirements mandated by the ACA or federal law, including pediatric oral or vision care services. Aflac’s contracts of insurance are not an alternative to, or a substitute for, comprehensive health insurance coverage and should only be used to supplement comprehensive health insurance coverage.
Individual Supplemental insurance coverage is underwritten by Aflac. Group Supplemental insurance coverage is underwritten by Continental American Insurance Company (CAIC), a wholly-owned subsidiary of Aflac Incorporated. CAIC is not licensed to solicit business in New York, Guam, Puerto Rico, or the Virgin Islands. For groups sitused in California, group coverage is underwritten by Continental American Life Insurance Company. For individual coverage in New York or coverage for groups sitused in New York, coverage is underwritten by Aflac New York. WWHQ | 1932 Wynnton Road | Columbus, GA 31999. Continental American Insurance Company | Columbia, South Carolina. Plans and availability vary by state.
AGC2100225 EXP 2/22